SLC.20.007 – Smart futures for liveable town and city centers

Route: Smart, liveable cities

Cluster question: 030 How can we keep our densely populated country liveable?

Inner cities are places of economic activity, services, leisure, culture, and creativity. In recent years, the importance of inner cities for housing, social interactions and connections, as a meeting place of society, and place attachment / sense of belonging is growing. Vital and compact inner cities are key for the liveability in cities and quality of life of its residents.
Dutch inner cities face new challenges with regard to economic decline, resulting in rising a number of vacancies and deterioration of quality, sustainability and decline in retail. Inner cities shift from places to buy towards places to be and meet. Cities are looking for instruments to help them manage and transform inner cities to facilitate this shift and make them future-proof and liveable. Liveability is the sum of the factors that add up to a community’s quality of life.
For many town and city centres, the Covid-crisis is accelerating processes. The importance of technology and data increases within transformation processes. Smart city concepts are popular in literature. The practical application however is still in its infancy. Smart city applications (sensors) will be used to monitor users’ behavior and experiences in inner cities (as well as air quality, maintenance of green public space).
Furthermore, little is known about the perspective and experience of different users (inhabitants, visitors, entrepreneurs and property owners) during transformation processes. This research focuses on the empowerment of citizens and entrepreneurs to cooperate with establised stakeholders in inner cities to improve the liveability. This empowerment changes the current organization of participation processes and in the end, the way stakeholders cooperate to improve the liveability. The project has a strong focus on participatory research and design in several urban living labs.


data, empowerment, inner cities, liveable, stakeholders, technology, Transformation

Other organisations

as well as municipalities, Avans University of Applied Sciences, economics, Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), Hanze Hogeschool Groningen, HVA, planning and design, PXL, real estate property owners and several societal partners as well as groups of residents and visitors, Saxion, This project will be a collaboration between leading research partners in social sciences, tue) in cooperation with the Retail Innovation Platform, urban geography, Utrecht University (UU)


Organisation Fontys University of applied science
Name Dr. C.J. (Cees-Jan) Pen